A High Court judge has dismissed a claim by Broadgate Place Property Company Ltd, filed on November 24, 2010, and has ordered the company to pay the state costs amounting to $450,000. Justice Maureen Rajnauth-Lee yesterday presented lawyers for both sides with copies of the 26-page written judgment in the Port-of-Spain Assizes.
Broadgate Place was listed as the claimant and the Minister of Planning, Economy and Social Restructuring and Gender Affairs was cited as the defendant. After the decision, attorneys for Broadgate Place met to discuss their next move. The T&T Guardian learned the company would appeal the decision which they believed was based on former minister Mary King’s “perception.”
Both parties filed arguments on November 21, 2011, when the company contended the minister’s decision to refuse permission to continue with its project outline was irrational and illegal; that the minister abused her power in refusing planning permission before the year had expired; the minister had acted unfairly in failing to notify the company of her intention to renege on the promise of a one-year period to comply with the condition and that the minister’s decision was flawed and not in accordance with the legitimate expectation of the company.
It was argued on behalf of the company there must be a rational basis for developing the planning policy for the capital and that the company had not been informed of any existing policy on height. Over several years, several parcels of prime land in downtown Port-of-Spain, totalling over 60,000 square feet, were acquired by Transcorp Credit Union Co-operative Society Ltd to construct a multi-storey office building with retail stores and parking facilities to be called the Broadgate Place Project.
In 2005, the PNM Cabinet agreed in principle to the lease of a 27-storey office block, yet to be built, but due to be constructed at Broadway and South Quay, Port-of-Spain, bordering Henry Street. The project was estimated to cost $800 million with the Unit Trust Corporation being the main financier. On the basis of discussions, it was understood the Government would occupy all the office space.